*This is a sponsored post.
I’m going to let you in on a secret… I don’t like shopping for clothes!
There are a number of reasons for this. One being that in an era where shopping online is taking charge, I never feel like the clothes I order fit. I’m often left disappointed, with no outfit, and having to make a trip to the post office to send it all back. Shopping “in person” if you like has also become much less joyful for me as well though; the majority of places that spring to mind to go shopping are town centres, but parking is always a nightmare. I know I sound like my grandmother here, but there really do seem to be more and more cars on the road, making everything more jammed and spaces sparse. By the time I arrive in a shop I feel flustered and stressed, and not at all in the mood to find a new outfit.
The Gallagher Retail Park in Cheltenham seems to overcome this; it is set out of the town centre, so there’s plenty of FREE parking, and surprisingly there is actually a great selection of brands to choose from.
Our first stop was an all-time favourite of mine, HomeSense. Set across two floors, it has a great selection of home-ware and miscellaneous items and it really is like stepping into a treasure cove.
The Christmas items have begun to overtake the Halloween decorations and it got me feeling really festive. No Christmas music was playing yet, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time!
Every year we buy Harper a Christmas decoration; my mother in law did this for my husband and it was so lovely when we moved into our own home and he was handed a box of meaningful decorations, many of which retro ones from the 80s and 90s. HomeSense had a selection of really beautiful and unusual decorations and we settled on a funky unicorn one as her 2018 addition.
I was also very impressed that HomeSense were starting to stock some Bamboo products. I have seen a number of Instagram posts lately encouraging this as a great alternative to plastic, so it was really good to see shops taking note and stocking it. I bought a new lunchbox for Harper, and whilst I couldn’t find a bamboo reusable cup and had to buy plastic, as I will be reusing this for my takeaway coffees I still felt this was a good alternative.
The highlight of my HomeSense haul was this carousel horse costume for Harper, it was in the sale at only £8! She was going to be a cat for Halloween, but I’m pretty sure her face shows that she was happy for the swap.
Next stop; Outfit! I think I may have been living under a rock here, but I hadn’t heard of it! They stock some of my favourite brands; Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, and More. They also do an Outfit Kids range! I had kindly been gifted a £50 voucher for a shop at Gallagher Retail Park, and Outfit was my choice. I have four events coming up that I was hunting for; two Christmas parties, an evening wedding celebration for friends who got married abroad, and a lunchtime event I am hosting as a guest interviewer in a few weeks. I decided I wanted to get an outfit for one of these and was hoping Outfit was up to the challenge.
I tried a mix of casual (for the lunchtime event) and glamorous for the evening dos I have coming up. Here is a selection of my favourites.
All reasonably priced; the most expensive was the black dress (top left) at £38, which I think is a total bargain – and coming from someone who buys most of her clothes in charity shops, that’s a testament. I settled on the black dress but may return for the white heart shirt (£25) and the leopard print jumper (£38).
Next we headed to Next (no pun intended) and I was in awe of their children’s selection. All the velvet and tartan in time for Christmas! And they had a lovely little selection of pyjamas and comfies ready for the cold weather that’s coming.
My husband also enjoyed browsing the home section (yes I’d dragged him along with me!) and I made a mental note that he liked these floral shirts. I’m partly adding them here so I can remember them for when I get a shrug of “don’t know” when I ask him what he wants for Christmas.
My final shopping pit stop was to Boots for a cheeky red lipstick to go with the black dress I chose!
Of course, the main way I kept my two year old from having a meltdown as I dragged her around the shops was with the lure of cake at the end (got to love a bit of bribery) and Patisserie Valerie certainly didn’t disappoint. Harper chose herself a pink cupcake, and my husband and I split a ham and cheese croissant and a delicious chocolate slice. And of course a warming cup of tea and an Americano, totalling around £15.
Happy Christmas Shopping!
*This blog is a paid collaboration with the Gallgher Retail Park, however all views are my own, as always.